Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a former superhero with the ability of superhuman strength who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from a previous abusive relationship. She decides to use her wit, intelligence to open her own one woman detective agency. On adapting the character from the comics Melissa Rosenberg commented that they stayed true to original adult oriented source material from the comics. Which was less costumes and flying and more real life.
It’s fresh and innovative to create an entire fictional series which main narrative theme is supposed to be the world of superheroes with extra ordinary powers but completely keeps this secondary focus. Jessica is not seen flying across the world in special red boots or a leotard to save people from burning buildings. It’s gritty and raw. Here lies a troubled ex superhero who runs around dark dirty New York City at night in combat boots/biker jackets angry and disillusioned by her past. Her alcohol drinking to self medicate the post traumatic stress of emotional abuse is realistic. All these plot points are a long way from watching Spider-man and it works because it feels new and adult. Her super strength is usually only a tool to explain why she is able to get in and out of sketchy situations she finds herself in.
The relationship between Kilgrave and Jessica is extremely well written and seems to at it’s core have nothing to do with super powers. While the land of Marvel Comics and Superheros seems far fetched this relationship plot is not. In the past she found herself involved with a man who for entertainment purposes possesses the gift of mind control. His obsession or what he perceives as true love leads him to control her and bend her will at any decision which benefits him. The most haunting line for me personally is when he slowly creeps back into her life by way of a new victim.
“He made me jump for hours and hours and he said I was never as good as you were…”
Its here to really point out the striking honesty in how the writers tackled the idea of abuse of power and manipulation in regards to rape. Kilgrave through his mind control power is able to coerce women into having sex with him as they have no control over their body or mind in his presence. It’s uncomfortable, important and confusing to discuss as these socially conscious themes take place in a world of comic book heroes but yet speak very much to the real world young women face when drugged or exploited by males. It is again brave and honest writing.
The cinematography is picture perfect matching the dark content material of the show. New York is depicted as Noir like as possible. The streets all have unseen shadows, streetlights flicker, along with Jessica taking pictures of what really happens behind closed doors with her camera; it all makes for a very dark voyeuristic look at Urban inner city grim in a modern manner. It is shot in an off grey and blue palette.
Jessica Jones is actually both substance and style. While it entertains in the usual superhero genre is tackles real social issues making this a great first season.
Von Von Lamunu